a vegan couple: eating; running; living–minimally.

Category: Running

supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (or, Two Races in Two Days)

Jay Peak 11 Mile

The past iterations of the Jay Peak Trail Festival consisted of a 25k loop with a 50k option. Learning from many of their past issues and mistakes, the Sub5 crew decided to host an 11 mile loop with 22 and 33 mile options. The weather outlook for this year’s race couldn’t have been more dichotomous: sun and 70s for the 5k’s on Saturday; 50s and rain for the Sunday 11 mile loops. My friend Abe had driven up from Syracuse, and we warmed up under a slate grey sky and that spat and hissed. The 11 mile loop would take us through the lower nordic trails, up the imposing Ulhr’s Dream, across the top of Jay Peak, ascending and descending sections of the Long Trail, rambling up and down various slopes, and weaving back to Ulhr’s Dream and the start via rolling nordic trails bottomed out with ankle-deep puddles and slick with the continuous, soaking rain.


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I learned a few important things this year:

  1. I need to work on climbing—This is what totally undid me. I knew it would be tough, having run the course twice before, but my legs were simply not up to the climbs. I manage on the ski slopes, but the long technical climbs/scrambles on the Long Trail sections were too much for my legs. I know what my Kryptonite is, and it is the uphills.
  2. I need to incorporate more (frequent) long runs—I was only able to get up to a single 10 mile run prior to the race, and that simply wasn’t enough to feel strong enough. If I am to get to the point of feeling confident in these kinds of mountain races I need to fit in more frequent longer runs…somehow?…sometime?
  3. I can maintain my downhill form (for the most part) even when tired—Downhill running, especially technical downhill running, is my forte. My descent on the Long Trail was quick, nimble, and strong (of course that was mile 4). But even at mile 10 I still felt pretty good running down the wider, sloppier, ski slopes. If it had been that highly technical downhill of the Long Trail I might have felt differently—maybe—but despite tired legs my form held up well.
  4. Trekking poles have their place—I have been practicing uphills, especially on ski slopes, with trekking poles as practice for the race. While I did feel confident and comfortable running with them, for the relatively short distance of 11 miles and given the amount of technical ascending & descending involved, I would not use them again. Maybe for the 22. Trying to scramble with trekking poles is awkward at best. Like a flamingo trying to climb stairs. Not pretty.



Cambridge Rotary 5k

Cambridge Rotary Fun Run

Cambridge Rotary Fun Run

I had not decided whether to run this until the morning of the race, which was the morning after Jay Peak. My legs felt…eh. I wasn’t sure how they would hold up for a fast 5k, but I’ve run this race the previous two years and wanted to see how I’d do.

Tired legs were an understatement as the leader jumped off the starting line and I never saw him again. I was able to maintain a decent pace but was easily passed by another runner half way through. As we came to mile 2.5 I was just behind the third place runner and beginning to run on fumes when I decided to see if I could hang on for another half mile—the course takes a quick “S” turn and I was on the inside, so if I could hold the inside I could keep him wide and force him to yield. Surprisingly it worked; I held out and for third for the second year. While I like to say that I don’t love running roads, let alone running 5ks, I do love running this local race on my home turf. It is fun to see familiar faces, and catch a glimpse of some pretty fast kids as well.

Oh, right, so why did I name this post “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”? That was the song that was in my head the entire 11 miles up and round Jay Peak. This was thanks to Hattie’s recent obsession with Marry Poppins—which I don’t mind, but 11 miles of Julie Andrews in my head was almost as exhausting as the running itself.

Carter Ledge Trail (White Mountains)

The other week we took a short vacation with some friends to Madison NH, just south of Conway, on the south-eastern edge of the White Mountains. We rented a house in a large village called “Edelweiss.” It was a super fun time to get away for a few days. While there our friend Abe and I ventured out to one of the many many trails in the immediate area. Wanting something difficult but not too lengthy we settled on the Carter Ledge Trail. This trail climbs up to the top of Middle Sister Peak, which is adjacent to Mount Chocoura (the former connects over to the latter via a number in interconnecting spurs). lists the Carter Ledge Trail as “hard” and it certainly was a challenge. At 6.8 miles round trip we started at around an elevation of 750ft., climbing to about 3,200 ft. for a total of 2,667ft. of climbing in 3.4 miles.

The first mile or so was nice single track; rocky and rooty, the trail undulated at a steady climb, throwing in some delicious pine needle sections into the mix. By mile 1.5 the climbing was steady, the trail was much more technical, and began to involve an increasing amount of scrambling. You can see by the elevation graph that after the dip at  mile 2.5 the trail rose sharply—that is when the real bouldering began. The trail gradually turned from hard forrest into an alpine zone, and eventually into exposed rock, shrubs, and short trees.

That was the technical account of the run. The experiential account was that (a) Abe is in much better shape then me (he was gracious enough to twice double-back and check on me), and (b) having 4 tacos and 3 beers the night before was…not the smartest choice to have made. By about a mile into the run I was feeling bloated and crampy, and things only got worse. As the climbing got more intense, every time I lifted my leg to stretch over and up to a ledge my intestine moaned and pushed me closer to a blowout (though what kind I was scared to find out).

Luckily I never did.


Looking back at Mount Chocoura, the higher peak that we decided to forgo. Wise decision.


After we summited I got my breath back and began to feel much better. We started back down, and the descent was infinitely better. We chatted and joked about how we were glad to have forgone the longer Mount Chocoura loop that would have added 2 extra miles and another almost 1000ft. of climbing. Eventually I was able to pick up the pace and Abe let me pass—I relish technical downhill running, and I was in heaven for the last mile as we cruised back to the start of the trailhead.


The view east. Lots of small peaks and hidden lakes and rivers. The bulk of the White range is to the left (North).

I have never run in the White Mountains before. I had heard about their technicality and their beauty, and we got a taste of both. I can’t wait to get back to run them again, hopefully with better training (and a stomach less full of tacos and beer).

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